Alphonse in the news.

Guns and/or Roses gives Alphonse a shot, but declares it a failure:

“This leaves us with two questions. The first is whether or not this particular device to scare you constitutes pro-life propaganda. The second is if you have some cognitive dissonance about the morality of abortion-as I do-does Alphonse succeed in converting those conflicted feelings into the free-floating dread and twitchy anxiety that are the measure of a good ghost story?

But the real question is whether or not it’s scary. In this sense, I think Alphonse fails. Chris Gugliotti, who drew the book, uses the unsightly, ugly appearance of a developing fetus to unsettle you. In the moment, when you’re reading it, it sometimes does. At other times though, it’s laughable kitch. Alphonse is like Chucky; he’s alternately creepy and hilarious. The longer you read it, the funnier it becomes, until after a certain point, you can’t imagine how you ever found it scary to begin with- just like the Child’s Play movies. When this ‘monster’ starts leaping at people with knives, the moral overtones of the story seem like crass attempts to make a lame story ‘important.'”


  1. notrelatedtoted says

    I think this guy gives a pretty fair review. He at least finds something to complain about besides the fact that it's about abortion.

    The thing I keep coming back to (particularly with some of the combox warriors) is that the critics can't get around the fact that abortion is the springboard for the story. Which, of course, proves your point about moral anxiety……if there's no anxiety, why the outrage? For them, it's so obviously propaganda, even though there really is no debate about the legality or underlying anxiety of abortion. I wouldn't even go so far as to say it's an attempt a dialogue – it's just a story!

    As an aside, it's also interesting how they equate a comment about the moral anxiety as an attempt to undercut its legality. They are not one in the same, and I think there are a lot of pro-choice people out there who would agree. I've talked with people who agree that abortion is wrong, but stop short of saying it should therefore be illegal. The unwillingness to even mention the anxiety of abortion again demonstrates that there is more at stake here than a simple legal right.

    It's funny……I thought you'd get a lot more blowback from the Catholic/pro-life media, and that those like the Awl would let it slide. I guess I was wrong about that.

    But to get back to the review at hand – I'm not sure he's being completely honest. He acknowledges the nature of the medium – a comic book – yet compares it against a movie. Chucky is hilarious because of the limitations (at the time) of the special effects in movies (among other things). I'm not sure Alphose would work as a movie (even with Peter Jackson's CGI), but how is this any more or less absurd that just about any comic book ever made? Even if you don't consider your run of the mill superhero stuff, absurdity is the stock and trade of the comic book industry. A holocaust story told with rats and mice as the characters? How is that any more or less scary or absurd?

    Somewhere in this whole discussion there is a joke about Alphonse being viable and therefore his murderous rampage is all very reasonable. And, I figure, just a couple of more weeks and he can be a regular old non-propagandized murderer! With abortion, just like comedy, timing is everything!

  2. cubeland mystic says

    Well said, not-Ted.

  3. Matthew Lickona says

    Dang, Not-Ted. Thanks for the good thoughts.

  4. notrelatedtoted says

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day…..

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